This article appears in today's Leicester Mercury:
Campaign urges Muslims to give blood, save lives
Muslims living in Leicester are getting ready to give blood and save lives as part of a national campaign.
The Imam Hussain Blood Donation Campaign aims to increase the number of regular blood donors from Muslim communities by holding donor drives in 10 cities across the UK.
A donor session will take place at the Leicester Blood Donor Centre, in Vaughan Way, near Highcross, on Sunday.
The annual campaign, named after a seventh-century Islamic martyr, is organised by the Islamic Unity Society (IUS), a charity set up to promote the integration of Muslim communities within wider British society.
Hasnain Karim, IUS Leicester Blood representative, said: "The immense demand for donors of rarer blood groups, from people of wider ethnic backgrounds, is overwhelming.
"A single blood donation has the potential to save three lives. It can be broken down into three component parts – red cells, white cells and platelets.
"Red cells can be used to help treat people with anaemia, platelets are often given to cancer patients having chemotherapy and white cells are used to treat burns victims.
"So far, 20 people have signed up to this year's drive, but people can still register by contacting myself or coming along on the day to find out more."
Theo Clarke, of NHS Blood and Transplant, Leicester, said: "It's great to have such an opportunity to work with the Muslim community in promoting blood donation.
"Often, rare blood groups are more common within certain ethnic groups, so encouraging people with rarer blood types to donate is a challenge."
To sign up for this weekend's donor session, call Mr Karim on 07725 135617